Hazardous waste warning for Tobagonians

Camille Roopnarine, sanitary engineer at Caribbean Environmental Health Institute, presents Anthony Ramnarine, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Utilities, with the results of the National Hazardous Waste Inventory Study for Trinidad and Tobago at Crowne Plaza, Port of Spain, yesterday.
While larger generators of hazardous waste in Trinidad and Tobago have adopted environmentally responsible practices, there is an urgent need to sensitise Tobagonians to the risks to human health from poor treatment and disposal of waste, a Hazardous Waste Inventory survey has shown.
Undertaken on behalf of the Ministry of Public Utilities and the Environment, during the period August 2005 to March this year, the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI) yesterday presented the ministry with copies of its findings at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Port of Spain.
Revealing that organisations in the oil and gas sector, as well as manufacturing of chemicals and chemical-products industry had tended to display more environmentally friendly practices, the report stated that “smaller generators generally displayed less environmentally friendly behaviour with respect to hazardous waste treatment and disposal”, and this was “especially so in Tobago”.
The oil and gas and chemical products industries generated more than 85.7 per cent of national hazardous waste for 2003, the survey revealed.
CEHI found that they were also the sectors that demonstrated the highest level of corporate environmental responsibility and had mechanisms in place for the pre-treatment, transport and final disposal of the waste they generated.
Initially targeting 775 companies, field interviews were conducted with 383 companies in the country.
Of this number, 366 companies were found to be generating significant hazardous waste.
Hazardous waste amounting to more than 11 million kilogrammes was generated for 2003, with the most popular type of waste classified as Y9, which represents waste oils/water, hydrocarbons/water mixtures, and emulsions.
Y9 wastes were generated across every sector surveyed, including oil and gas, petrochemicals, service sector, food manufacturing, tourism, garages, dry cleaners, utilities, publishing and printing, hospitals and health centres, and furniture manufacturing.
The largest generation of waste occurred in the Penal, Santa Flora and Fyzabad areas, where the oil and gas and chemical sectors had their operations.
Other areas with significant amounts of wastes included Pointe-a-Pierre, Mayaro, Point Lisas, St James, Woodbrook and St Clair.
In Tobago, the highest waste-generating areas were Scarborough and Crown Point.

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